Australian newspapers yesterday said the country’s cricket team was in a parlous state and the coveted Ashes series all but lost after Ricky Ponting’s men were smashed by England in Adelaide.
Australia were comprehensively outplayed in the second Test — losing by an innings and 71 runs on Tuesday — and commentators said they saw little prospect of a reinvention that would turn their fortunes around.
“The Ashes are all but gone,” Malcolm Conn wrote in the Australian. “So too, it appears, are the last vestiges of Australia as a Test force after England’s imposing second Test victory in Adelaide.”
The post-mortems were damning, admitting that Australia was unlikely to win the remaining three Tests in the series given its beaten, broken and injury-hit team.
“The Ashes? Forget it — this side would be lucky to beat Bangladesh,” opined a headline in the Sydney Morning Herald, while the Sydney tabloid Daily Telegraph ran with: “Get used to it” above a photo of a joyous England team.
“Australian cricket has not been in such a parlous state for two decades,” said the Daily Telegraph, which in a column described the Adelaide Test as a “massacre.”
England’s thumping win at Adelaide — in which Australia scored only 245 in their first innings and then looked on as England replied with a huge 620 for five declared — formalized England’s custody of the Ashes, Greg Baum said in the Age.
“If it seemed to Australia that all went England’s way, it was because England made it so,” he said.
Newspapers in England, -meanwhile, were overjoyed, saying victory in the series was within touching distance.
“Australia simply cracked,” gloated one headline, while others declared “Aussies on their knees” and “England are masters now.”
Commentators urged England to take advantage of their emphatic triumph and push ahead to retain the Ashes.
“Australia are in turmoil, so go for the jugular,” the Daily Mail said. “Don’t take a step back. It’s England’s time now.”
And the Independent urged: “The Ashes are there for the taking.”
England’s superb all round performance was praised to the rafters, while commentators did not pull their punches when laying into the Aussies’ woeful showing.
“England outplayed Australia in just about every department of the game,” noted the Times, adding: “It was as complete a performance as I have seen from an England side.”
The Daily Mail heaped scorn on the Australians, calling them a “laughing stock” who “can’t bat, can’t field, can’t bowl.”
Others saw the victory as a watershed, which could herald a fundamental shift in world cricket, with Australia’s dominance of the game under threat from a resurgent England.
“Australia as a great cricketing power are unravelling before our eyes,” the Daily Mail said.
However, for many England fans, noted some commentators, it was just a relief their team did not screw it up. “England supporters steeped in history wondered gloomily, as they walked to the ground on the final day, exactly how England would contrive to mess it up from here,” the Times said.